In March 2017, Kate had a life-changing stroke. Whilst she was in hospital recovering, her husband was also taken into hospital, seriously ill.
The stroke had left Kate with aphasia and really struggling to speak. She could say ‘yes’ and ‘no’, but not much more. She was so upset that she couldn't speak to her husband, but she held his hand as he lay in hospital. Shortly after, he sadly passed away. Devastated by the death of her beloved husband and dealing with the ongoing effects of her stroke, it felt like her whole world had fallen apart.
Kate was referred to our Communication Support Service, which helped her regain the communication skills she thought she had lost to her stroke. By learning valuable language therapy techniques, her speech began to improve even with difficult words like Penelope and Isabelle, the names of two of her great-granddaughters.
She was also taught physical therapies that helped build up the strength she’d lost in her hands, which means she can get back into the kitchen and do the thing she loves most: baking. Being the family cake-maker is a big part of who Kate is and her plum loaf and Christmas crumbles are a festive tradition in her family.
“I've met so many new friends in the groups I attend,” she says. “Communication group, singing group and exercise class at my local leisure centre. I've also got involved with the 'Step out for Stroke' walk and the Great Scunny bake-off! The Stroke Association has given me back my confidence.”
Kate was determined not to give in. Her family were there for her from day one. They supported her and helped her to realise that she is much more than what she feels she has lost to stroke. She is still a mum to two wonderful sons, Nana to six grandchildren and a great-grandma to her five great-grandchildren.
“There's always something going on,” Kate says. “It gives me a great feeling waking up and having somewhere to go. Since my husband died, it's been difficult being home alone - the Stroke Association has been a great support in helping me deal with that.”
Help more stroke survivors like Kate find the magic of Christmas
With your support, we can help stroke survivors see that they are more than the physical abilities and self-belief that they may have lost. This Christmas, help more stroke survivors like Kate find the magic of Christmas again and believe “I am more than my stroke”.